Dismantling Ableism: An Exploration of How Play and Collaboration Can Help Children Generate a Deeper Understanding of People with Disabilities


The ultimate aim for this research is to explore how design and play can aid the dismantling of ableism and establish deeper connections between different groups within society. Specifically, it is an investigation into how we can use designed learning tools to facilitate interactions between people with disabilities and children. Play is a powerful method for generating understanding; the tools in this collection harness this power and encourage children to work with people with disabilities in an exploration of accessibility issues in their own environments. Through co-creation sessions with people with disabilities and primary school teachers, a learning program was designed for primary schools and youth clubs in Denmark. The program takes the form of an in-person workshop run by people with disabilities. It provides them with a platform to share their story, teach about the social model of disability and encourage children to critically think about the why people with disabilities are often neglected in the design of our communities. It helps kids identify accessibility issues in their own surroundings, which they then redesign in alignment with Universal Design Principles. The workshop was tested by a member of the Danish Association of Youths with Disabilities in both a Danish primary school and a youth club, the results of which are discussed in this paper.


Sabhín O'Sullivan
Product Designer, Product Strategy and Design, Dawn Health, Denmark


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Play, Collaboration, Inclusion, Service Design, Universal Design, Workshop, Education

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